Monday, January 26, 2009

new dolls

Wow look at this new craziness, a blog post about dolls from the doll maker! not something you see around here every day :)

Honestly though, I don't have things to say about dolls every day. And maybe not even every week. Everybody needs dolls and that is a constant of coarse, but I think if I said it all the time people would get annoyed (I wonder how many people I annoyed at region X regionals last November since I said it all weekend, lol). Moving on....

Sometimes I get requests for some really interesting dolls. Like this Aussie guy. He's wearing what any good Aussie cowboy would, jeans, a button down shirt and a duster. He was pretty fun to make but also a bit of a challenge. He was not a super hard concept or design (not like "Death" I should find some pictures of him) but I did have to work up a new pattern for his duster. Actually there is a lot of that in my work. I follow reference photos if I can because the more of the real details you can put in the doll the better it will be. At least that is my opinion. I added a couple of extra things to the duster because Ethan noticed then in the reference photo and said they should be there. Like the armpit straps. It's just a couple of straps that go from the back of the cape under the armpit to the front of the coat to keep the cape from flying up. Not a detail that had to be there, but it did add a bit more realism.

I like to make new things and I like to make old things better if I can. I didn't make hunt seat dolls for awhile because I hate the plastic Breyer boots and I didn't want some giant leather boots. And if I could not make nice boots I was not going to make boots at all. After awhile I worked up a nice tight fitting tall boot pattern and now I happen to like making hunt seat dolls. The old style Breyer cowboy boots were nice enough for western dolls if they were painted to match the outfit (and cut down so the doll could ride heels down) but Breyer changed the boot style when they came out with the newer dolls. The new boots are more like clown shoes and are enourmous! They don't make for a refined look on the dolls. So then I had to make boots for the western dolls as well. It's similar to making the English boots of coarse. I trade patterns with my doll maker friend Joan Yount. it's nice to have 2 heads working on problems that come up when trying to dress a doll.

This next lady was not a tough doll to make but her shirt was another altered pattern. I am not even sure which of my patterns it started as any more. But now it is a short sleeved polo style shirt. This doll was pretty cool because casual dolls are just fun to make. She also has a removable safety vest so she can do cross country. I need to have one of those....and a cross country jump. Some day. This was the most recent doll. The lady that ordered him wanted a farmer. Not like a old TV show farmer but a real working farmer. At first she asked for an old experienced famer but I can't do sculpting. ("Death" was the exception of coarse) so I told her I could dress a Breyer guy and maybe give him gray hair but that was it. But she said she didn't care how old he was just as long as he looked like a real farmer. She sent me a picture of a group of real farmers as well for inspiration. Well this guy stayed young, no gray hair for him and I dressed him like a real farmer. Just jeans, a workshirt, a nice carhartt coat and some big rain-boot type boots. Now he's ready for even the messiest job. And look at all that snow! good thing he has a coat on. This guy really was a lot of fun to make. I thought he wanted a baseball hat but I have no idea how to make a nice one. That will be a project for later I guess.
Now I have mentioned my "Death" doll several times in this post. He was a very interesting order. The customer wanted "Death" from the 4 horsemen of the apocolypse. She sent me a photo of the Durer woodcut as a reference. She didn't want the typical skeleton "Death" that so many people have. She liked the way Durer portrayed him. She said she wanted him to be a really emaciated man with ripped and stained clothing. The first pictures I sent of him she said he looked too healthy, lol. I guess it was true. She said she wanted him to look like he had just crawled out of his own grave. And this is what I came up with. He scared Elecktra so I figured he was about right.

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